BIH Withdraw St Erth Heliport Application

British International Helicopters have abandoned plans to relocate their heliport to St Erth.

This follows strong opposition from local residents and the decision by both St Erth and St Ives Parish Councils to object to the planning application, which was due to go before Cornwall Planners later this month.

Last month, Sainsbury’s secured planning consent to build a new supermarket on the current heliport site in Penzance, which BIH have said they must sell to inject cash into their business.

The company will move from Penzance in June 2012 and say they have agreement to fly from Newquay airport after that time while reviewing other potential sites.

BIH Managing Director, Tony Jones, said “Our investigations tell us St Erth is the most suitable available site in Cornwall for a new Heliport, however we are prepared to review again any other potentially suitable sites in West Cornwall.”

In a separate statement, Al Titterington, Managing Director of Newquay Cornwall airport said they were “in discussions with British International Helicopters Ltd over the potential relocation of its Isles of Scilly passenger operations to Newquay from Penzance.”



9 Responses to BIH Withdraw St Erth Heliport Application

  1. Adam Morton,St.Martins November 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Relocating to Newquay is as ridiculous as relocating the Scillonian to Falmouth. Alledgedly it costs £8000 ph to keep the Couldrose sikorsky in the air,even if it cost half that for BIH it would necessitate charging £200 return just to not go backwards what is doubling the distance to newquay going to do for it? The only sane alternative is to share the lands end facility with skybus which yes is somtimes foggy but is fine for the other 340 odd days a year. Furthermore the council could stop charging for the use of the airport and make it more economic.

    Roumour has it that BIH have the larger part of their bussiness in north sea supply which is never cash strapped so in time of reccession it would be handy to have a valid excuse for discontinuing the scillies service. There is little that accomodation providers can do unless they happen to be shareholders in the Steamship co directorship. In this age of computerised information as well as recession visitors are keenly aware of what is a good deal or not. The glaringly obvious point that came up in the recent council survey is that travel to scilly is about the worst deal in the country. The problem facing Scillies tourism is that by the time you take out of the equation those on central government payroll ie Nhs, Council, education, pensioned /retired and those in a monopoly, the actual bussiness sector is very small with a small voice.

    If it were not for school and council i think both aircraft and jet boats would have a very thin time of it, sadly thers no such easy money for the rest of us. Furthermore those in controll of scillies destiny are by nature those that have already made their money/thats why they have the time and not the sense of urgency that some of us feel. A decent high speed ferry service with the comfort of a multihull and prices in line with the rest of the country would go a long way to help Scillies tourist trade but i constantly hear that “we dont want lower prices cos we will get undesirable visitors tuning up”, well its numbers that pay my bills and also people that feel theyv been fleeced getting here tend to try and save by not taking boat trips and not eating out so often.

    Scilly is full for the high summer six weeks it is april may and june that needs attention. Everyone agrees with offering value for money and keeping prices low but few are willing set the example all believing that they are the ones offering exelent value.Things are ok for the moment but if the recession keeps gong as long as the goverment is predicting ,i wouldnt like to say what the next three years will bring. thers 4 out of 5 major bussinesses up for sale on St.Martins at the moment coincidence?

    Scillies transport links are privately owned so thers no obligation for them to think of the bigger picture,whats more a lot of locals have an interest in the Steamship co. this means we are unlikly to get any subsidies like the rest of the country gets.Surly there is grant money available to help if it can be shown to benifit the public rather than setting up the steamship with a new boat for free.The only body in scilly big enough to have an influence is the council but baring in mind that it was ten years ago that we were supposed to be getting a new boat and a new hellicopter, can we please GET A MOVE ON. ps nows problably the cheapest time to order a new boat!

  2. George Kershaw November 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Not sure about your attitude there Billy, I can see where you are coming from with the price issues and I am born and bred too, but I can’t see how telling visitors not to come will help at all..
    The islands need tourism more now than ever before and maybe the Steamship and accomodation providers need to act now before it is too late to secure the future of these beautiful islands.
    The current economic climate calls for smaller profit margins and more along the lines of business survival, global tough times and we are all affected.
    Hopefully the helicopter link will continue, there must be other options available and I don’t recall hearing anything about the Scilly route losing money for BIH so there is hope yet.
    Everyone just needs to up there game and offer good value and service for our visitors.

  3. Billy November 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

    How can we not sustain a helicopter service now, but we did so in the 1960’s?

    Well, on a brighter note, this will lead to the islands entering into a sticky period, no, bleak period of our history, and perhaps will lead to the greedy needing to lower the asking prices of their properties. This way, perhaps local born and bred people can afford to put a roof over their heads.

    Just you wait now, the Steamship Co will increase their prices. Truly a heart-warming local company, owned by people with plenty of money, who can’t or won’t look beyond the next 12 months at any one time.

    Visitors, stay away. It’s the kindest possible thing you can do for us at the moment.

  4. Neil November 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

    David is spot on – Cornwall CC seems to be making a complete mess of any transport infrastructure planning for the tourists – and if the Penzance Harbour problem doesn’t sort itself out, then what happens to the Scillonian – Falmouth? That would be the end for Penzance. If I can take a motorhome round the Outer Hebredes using 5 ferries and spending 12 hours on those ferries for £270 – this is less than the two of us getting to the Scillies before any accommodation – oh dear – things looking bleak unless someone wakes up to the problems, be it local or central government. We want to come back to the Scillies for the 16th time – but……………

  5. David Ticehurst November 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I fear that BIH’s decision to abandon the St Erth planning application will unfortunately spell the end of this vital service to the Scillies. BIH was losing money on the existing route and the sale of the Penzance Heliport was necessary to raise funds to continue the service. Relocating to Newquay will mean higher prices: the journey is longer, more fuel will be needed, less passengers/ freight can be carried because of the need for extra fuel. Ticket prices will be higher; passenger numbers will continue to decrease leading to the continued financial failure of the service and its eventual demise.

    By abandoning the application to move to St Erth in the apparent face of local opposition BIH can now say that it did all that it could but now the service is no longer viable.

    Perhaps this was the plan all along.

    The helicopter link is a vital lifeline for the Scillies. You can rest assured that if the Scillies were off the north west coast of Scotland government action would have been taken by now to preserve this essential route.

    And quite what the planners were thinking of when approving Sainsbury’s application to develop the heliport site is hard to fathom. Penzance will now have a Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s all within a mile of each other, while the town of Penzance itself slowly fades and dies. Much like the helicopter service I am afraid.

  6. Glyn November 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    So still not sorted. What sort of council do you have down there that cant find an alternative site around Penzance that keeps us visitors coming down there. If you want them of course. If I am now to fly from Newquay it will be Newquay I will stay for a few days so given a shorter journey the previous comment “RIP” is probably and unfortunately correct.

  7. chiffchaff November 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Get real you NIMBY. West Cornwall, needs this, otherwise it will soon become a waste land. How much is Penzance going to lose? are you and your friends going to plug the gap.

  8. Milo November 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    RIP Penzance.
    Hmm, Newquay or Penzance stopover…tough one.

  9. J Abram November 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    More utter nonsense from Tony Jones…… His withdrawal from St Erth has nothing to do with local opposition. It’s entirely to do with the fact that the Highways Authority told him that Station Road was already over capacity, and that the junction with the A30 has a bad accident record, an that he’d failed to provide any realistic mitigation for that fact. Not to mention the narrow bridge and twisting road that prevented more than one large vehicle from passing, and obstructed the view of traffic from both directions.

    Then this week Network Rail got more than a little annoyed at him for not speaking with them in the first instance, and producing a plan which significantly compromised the safety of the Railway. Landing within 10 to 20 metres of the side of trains. Not to mention making so much noise that people wouldn’t hear trains approaching on the manual level crossings and over flying the railway at low altitude.

    Then of course there’s the objection of the Environment Agency, who say that the site is a flood plane and that there is no mitigation for the additional flooding of the surrounding roads that his project would have caused.

    SO No Mr Jones!!!! It never was “the most suitable available site in Cornwall” and you didn’t walk away because of objections from local people, who you made it quite clear you couldn’t care less about. You walked away because the Statutory Consultees made it quite clear that the site was un-suitable for a Heliport and you stood no chance of being granted the permission.

    I can only say The Village of St Erth and the surrounding villages are pleased to see that you’ve had the sense to cut your losses and run. Which wouldn’t have been necessary had you bothered to investigate the site properly before you filed that ridiculous plan.

    As far as you were concerned the opinion of the people of St Erth was of no interest to you at all. Which you made quite clear during the public meeting. During which you didn’t, as you have claimed, answer peoples fears…. In fact you spent most of the meeting shrugging your shoulders, making “I don’t care” faces at people, looking at the floor and refusing to answer the questions put to you.

    The people of St Erth absolutely support the right of the People of the Scilly Isles to have their helicopter link. If that is what they want and need. They just didn’t see why they should have to pay for it. By having their property equity effectively transferred to your Company’s bank balance and their lives destroyed by your continuous noise and chemical pollution.